ERIC Number: ED194868
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1980-Sep
Reference Count: 0
Schemas in Memory? Increasing the Usefulness of an Unconfirmable Hypothesis.
Smith, Eliot R.; Miller, Frederick D.
There are several problems associated with research using the schema concept. One problem is that there seems to be a lack of cumulative development, with the research being horizontal in quality, spreading out to new areas. Another problem with schema research is that a person not already convinced of the merit of the schema notion can remain unconvinced by the entire body of evidence relating to schema. What appears to be lacking is a formal theory of schemas that not only describes their own nature but also shows how they fit into overall cognitive processing. A theory that gives an adequate account of schemas as structural entities must give an account of processing as well, because in general one cannot test a structural hypothesis without an auxiliary set of assumptions about processing, and vice versa. A theoretical effort at defining schema processing as well as structural issues would have a number of beneficial effects, including the following: (1) schema research would acquire a vertical, cumulative quality; (2) the research might go a long way toward answering the objections of the unconvinced; (3) research efforts could be coordinated; (4) there would be a clear test for what is and what is not part of the schema hypothesis; and (5) negative evidence (failed replications and different findings) could be applied usefully to the advancement of schema theory. (RL)
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Science Foundation, Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Bell Telephone Labs., Inc., Whippany, NJ.; California Univ., Riverside.
Identifiers: Schema Theory
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Psychological Association (Montreal, Canada, September 1-5, 1980).